Wind turbines are nowadays one of the most promising energy sources. Every year, the amount of energy produced from the wind grows steadily. Investors demand turbine manufacturers to produce bigger, more efficient and robust units. These requirements resulted in fast development of condition-monitoring methods. However, significant sizes and varying operational conditions can make diagnostics of the wind turbines very challenging. The paper shows the case study of a wind turbine that had suffered a serious rolling element bearing (REB) fault. The authors compare several methods for early detection of symptoms of the failure. The paper compares standard methods based on spectral analysis and a number of novel methods based on narrowband envelope analysis, kurtosis and cyclostationarity approach. The very important problem of proper configuration of the methods is addressed as well. It is well known that every method requires setting of several parameters. In the industrial practice, configuration should be as standard and simple as possible. The paper discusses configuration parameters of investigated methods and their sensitivity to configuration uncertainties
Focus of the vibration expert community shifts more and more towards diagnosing machines subjected to varying rotational speeds and loads. Such machines require order analysis for proper fault detection and identification. In many cases phase markers (tachometers, encoders, etc) are used to help performing the resampling of the vibration signals to remove the speed fluctuations and smearing from the spectrum (order tracking). However, not all machines have the facility to install speed tracking sensors, due to design or cost reasons, and the signal itself has to then be used to extract this information. This paper is focused on the problem of speed tracking in wind turbines, which represent typical situations for speed and load variation. The basic design of a wind turbine is presented. Two main types of speed control i.e. stall and pitch control are presented,. The authors have investigated two methods of speed tracking, using information from the signal (without relying on a speed signal). One method is based on extracting a reference signal to use as a tachometer, while the other is phase-based (phase demodulation). Both methods are presented and applied to the vibration data from real wind turbines. The results are compared with each other and with the actual speed data.
Condition monitoring of machines working under non-stationary operations is one of the most challenging problems in maintenance. A wind turbine is an example of such class of machines. One of effective approaches may be to identify operating conditions and investigate their influence on used diagnostic features. Commonly used methods based on measurement of electric current, rotational speed, power and other process variables require additional equipment (sensors, acquisition cards) and software. It is proposed to use advanced signal processing techniques for instantaneous shaft speed recovery from a vibration signal. It may be used instead of extra channels or in parallel as signal verification.